Middle School Schedule

Middle School Schedule
Posted on 03/26/2020
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As you know, the middle schools have been exploring a possible change in the school schedule for next year that will help address our students’ instructional needs. Moving from an 8-period schedule to a 7-period schedule would allow students more core instructional time and give them an advisory period for social emotional learning. 

The proposed new 7-period schedule offers several significant benefits

* Additional core instructional minutes that add up to more than 3 weeks of instructional time per year

* Mirrors high school schedule with an advisory period and a couple days of longer classes

* Offers important social emotional instruction that will help students with coping strategies and mental health

* Replaces the very short periods that currently exist on Mondays and allow teachers to check in with all their classes at both the beginning and end of week.

It is true that the 7-period schedule will reduce the number of electives for some students by one. Every student is guaranteed to have at least one elective. 

Information about the Proposal

Why a new schedule?

Teachers requested a change in the schedule beginning in 2021 to initially to add an advisory period but the new schedule options also addressed
– Increase core instructional minutes
– Consistency in instructional minutes in all classes
– Provide opportunities for social emotional learning (higher need surfacing post pandemic)
– Increase impact for students needing English Language Development/ Instructional Support through a co-taught model

Have we had a 7-period schedule in the past?

We did in 2018. Students who were English Learners and had instructional support had no choice elective at that time. The Board of Trustees provided direction to revise the schedule to ensure all students received at least one choice elective. Our schools now can deliver the instructional support these students need in a 7-period schedule while allow a choice elective.

What is the academic need?

In 2017, MVWSD middle schools were making progress at a higher rate than the state. In 2023, MVWSD middle schools saw higher declines than the state. More core instructional time could cement concepts and allow students to practice their skills. (See the academic data here)

Is the schedule proposal about student academics only?

School districts are complex ecosystems. While the idea began with teachers in 2022 and was refined by a committee of teachers and administrators in 2023-24, the schedule change has far-reaching effects, such as staffing, budgeting and union contract negotiations. 

Some of the issues that were running concurrently to a proposed schedule change were:
● Start of teacher negotiations (January 2024)
● Google officially cancels lease creating $3 million shortfall (Feb. 2024). Click here to learn more

Do the middle schools have a plan for the new advisory period?

Yes. There will be lessons each week designed with content from
○ #BetterTogether, the MVWSD culture and climate program
○ Digital Citizenship
○ Social Emotional skills (SEL) development
○ School- based topics or needs

The content will be provided to teachers in the form of presentation slides, recommended materials, and parent follow-up info. Teachers/counselors deliver lessons/activities. The scope and sequence of topics are scheduled according to student experiences throughout the school year. Click here to see the schedule

How will teachers be supported to deliver instruction in the longer periods in the new schedule?

We recognize that teachers may need additional support as they plan for longer instructional blocks. MVWSD will provide opportunities to learn new strategies and collaborate with fellow teachers every six weeks. Instructional Coaches and Teacher Leader(s) will be trained over the summer in various instructional methodologies (PBL, Cooperative Learning, etc). They, in turn, hold teacher learning community professional development sessions every six weeks. Click here to see more about professional development 

Does this schedule have something to do with union-negotiated raises?

No. This spring, under the direction of the Superintendent, staff reduced expenditures by approximately $3.7 million. This was a response to a changing fiscal climate and to maintain sound fiscal practices. These reductions averted future layoffs and allowed for increase in salaries. While $1.2 million of this total could be saved by the shift in the schedule, it was not the driving force in the proposal. 

The Board will vote on the tentative agreement with MVEA separately and prior to a decision on the middle school schedule. MVEA president and a Graham union representative met with the Superintendent (separately and prior to the teachers’ schedule survey on April 25). Both were informed that the Tentative Agreement would move forward regardless of whether the Board of Trustees voted on the schedule at the May 2nd meeting.

How did people give input on the proposed schedule?

More than 1600 people participated in the Thought Exchange survey - April 26-30- that was sent to all Middle School staff, students and parents. See the results here.

Other input points were:


 *  Crittenden Staff gave input at the March 21 staff meeting. Click here to see the input here and here

 *  Graham Staff gave input at the March 19 staff meeting. Click here to see the input here and here

 *  On April 25, middle school staff submitted their preference for either a 7- or 8-period schedule. See the results here


 *  117 responses received on the Parent input form (March/April). See the results here

 *  10 emails to publiccomments@ email. See the results here

 *  Two school parent coffees (Graham - March 29, Crittenden - March 22)

 *  Click here for a recording of the April 1 Townhall meeting with Dr. Rudolph and the middle school principals and assistant principals


 *  Click here for a video of middle school students interviewing Dr. Rudolph about the middle school schedule

 *  School-based focus groups

The next step

The Board of Trustees will vote on the proposal at the May 2, 2024 meeting

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